Physics Colloquium - Friday, April 13th, 2007, 4:00 P.M.

E300 Math/Science Center; Refreshments at 3:30 P.M. in Room E200

Scott Shaw
Department of Physics and Astronomy
University of Georgia

Progress in Understanding Cool, Low Mass Stars

Almost all stars in our galaxy are cool, low mass stars. In spite of this fact, as late as five years ago very little was known about their fundamental physical properties. Our knowledge of their stellar masses, sizes and luminosities was based on only three eclipsing binary systems. We have remedied our knowledge by the discovery, observation and analysis of 11 new cool, low mass, eclipsing systems. Our discoveries have called into question the present astrophysical models of low mass stars. The entire campaign serves as an example of how significant astrophysical research can be done with a small budget, a telescope of moderate size and the help of some talented undergraduate researchers.